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      Focusing on the Individual’s Journey

      While the wilderness provides an excellent setting for our therapeutic program, we wouldn’t be able to achieve lasting, positive outcomes and address the unique developmental and psychological needs of each student without deep expertise in clinical theory and evidence-based practices. We work individually with each student to help them set positive goals, and move forward on their journey.

      Our clinical foundation includes:

      • Self-Awareness – Providing the ideal environment and prompting for students and families to better understand themselves and the way in which they interact with others.
      • Emotional Regulation – Teaching skills for managing emotions, maintaining energy, and soothing stress without lashing out.
      • Interdependence – Developing relational intelligence, social skills and a concrete understanding that we are all members of interdependent communities.
      • Transference – Guiding students through transitions while they are enrolled, so they can maintain positive behavior when they return home.

      Trails Carolina offers a Therapeutic Wilderness Program that is based on decades of experience and scientific research that balances the benefits of wilderness therapy with the practical experience of residential base camp. Each student spends time in the wilderness and back at base camp to practice skills in a variety of settings and with different staff.

      These transitions are beneficial because your child may demonstrate success within certain environments or with certain individuals, but struggle to transfer those skills to other settings. For instance, while your child may excel during their time in the wilderness they may struggle in the classroom as the structure and staff changes. These struggles can lead your child to feel insecure, grow frustrated, and return to negative behaviors. Our staff support your child during times of struggle, reminding them on the new strengths and skills they have learned to overcome. 

      Our supportive therapeutic wilderness programs for troubled teens and young adults allow us to teach practical skills for positive behavior, then test these newfound skills your child has gained to help create stronger behavioral patterns.

      Through expeditions and clinical expertise, Trails’ provides a safe environment for your child to learn to effectively express their emotions and adopt healthy behaviors. Our experienced, passionate team is there to help every step of the way.

      Trails’ Therapeutic Program Includes

      • Initial assessments for better understanding of your child’s mindset upon arrival
      • Weekly individual therapy with your child’s Primary Therapist to provide a personalized treatment plan
      • Weekly group therapy to help instill healthy behaviors with the help of peers
      • Development and review of your child’s personal therapeutic plan with input from the entire Trails team of experts
      • Weekly family phone sessions with the Primary Therapist to help transfer skills from Trails back home
      • Weekly phone conference seminars with a Family Therapist and other Trails families while your student is at Trails – This provides additional support so you don’t need to feel alone
      • Specialized equine assisted therapy to help students understand how others perceive their emotions, actions, and non-verbal communication
      • Mindfulness practice
      • Transition planning to prepare for continued success after Trails

      Blend of Wilderness and Base Campus

      Students practice transitioning to new situations, settings, and staff to improve their confidence in handling all that life throws at us, whether in the wilderness or the classroom.

      Decades of Experience

      Our talented team are experts in their respective disciplines and have the passion and experience to build trust with your child and help them along the path to a positive outcome.

      Comprehensive Assessments for Individual Treatment Plans

      Upon arrival, each student is assigned a Primary Therapist who immediately conducts a thorough clinical assessment. Assessments and progress reports will continue throughout your child’s stay, and every member of the Trails Teams—Therapeutic, Wilderness, Academic and Residential—is involved in this process to improve our understanding of your child, their progress, and any remaining challenges.

      This is why it is so important to alternate between wilderness and residential settings and mix interactions with different members of the team – to improve and test coping skills and practice new behaviors in a variety of situations. Your child and the entire family will continue weekly treatment with your individual Primary Therapist and Family Therapist while the entire Trails team continues to assess progress.

      This continued focus on your child’s specific behaviors and circumstances allows us to individualize treatment in order to maximize gains and long-term success.

      “I feel” statements for Improving Accountability and Insight

      Many troubled youth have a difficult time taking ownership of their actions. Starting to develop accountability and self-awareness is a vital part of your child confronting their past behavior and developing healthy habits for the future.

      One of the first things we work on with students (and families) is to use “I feel” statements. It sounds simple, but this is an incredibly powerful tool to change the nature of communication. Leveraging simple reframes like this, and guidance from our staff, we are able to help your child understand the role they play in creating safe, supportive relationships with their peers, family members, and authority figures.

      Throughout their time at Trails, your child will move from defensive and defeated to confident and self-assured.




      “I’m more accepting of the road ahead of me.”
      Audrey T., Student